Minimizing Holiday Stress

bigstock-Christmas-Seamless-Pattern-Wit-24446030Shopping for the holidays puts many people under additional stress: from spending money they don’t have, to long wish lists from kids or family members, to the time it takes to fulfill these desires-turned-demands.

My first suggestion is to trim your gift-giving list. In our family, we went from buying presents for 15 people to just the kids, which was initially 4, and grew to be 6, but is still much more reasonable. Also, my husband and I don’t exchange gifts as we take a trip for our anniversary the next month, and his birthday is right around Christmas, so he gets a birthday gift, which is usually an experience (comedy club, weekend trip, performing arts event).

To trim things even further, use The Rule of 4. I didn’t make this up, but I sure love it. Here’s how it works: Every person that you intend to buy gifts for gets only 4 things:

Something you need.

Something you want.

Something to read.

Something to wear.

For a 12 year old child, this could mean: a graphing calculator for school, a video game, a biography about their favorite sports star, and a nice shirt.

For a 4 year old child: finger paints and paper, a special toy, a book about their favorite animal, and new pajamas.

For a teenager: a piece of luggage with a special slot for their laptop, a new laptop (hidden inside the luggage?), a book by their favorite author – or one that you loved at that age, and a leather jacket.

You’re not limited by amount spent in this way, but it will cause you to be a more creative giver and your recipients will have less “filler” or “junk” items that will eventually get broken and tossed out. You’ll save yourself countless dollars in the impulse-buy section of the checkout lane on things that are “so cute and just $5”, and your gifts will be more thoughtful. Win, win!


You CAN:Steps for Successful Progress

“I can’t. I don’t know how.” What more paralyzing words are there? This is how children think. Adults know that the information exists, if you only know how to find it. Adults say it and it means you don’t know where to find the information.


We live in a society of information overload. However, we also live in the Technological Age and nearly everything can be answered by your friend and mine, The Great Wizard Google. What he can’t explain, he’ll allow his sidekick YouTube to illustrate for him.


I found a pattern online ages ago called Argyle Octopus for cross stitch, one of my hobbies. Also recently, Subversive Cross Stitch offered a pendant kit. I thought this was the perfect marriage. I ordered the round pendant kit and went looking for that argyle octopus pattern, only to find it was no longer available. I found loads of silhouette patterns available, like the hibiscus hippo and the plaid plesiosaur, both fantastic, but not what I wanted.

I don’t know how to make a pattern. I don’t draw well. I can’t. 


Except that I can.



I do know how to search online and have been doing so for years. Using the word “silhouette” that I’d found in my Etsy and Pinterest searches of similar patterns, I asked The Great Wizard Google for an octopus silhouette and he showed me tons. I wanted one that was “square” so it would fit in the pendant. I found this one. I pasted it into Word and made it small enough to fit the pendant opening, then meticulously cut it out, removing the curly suckers. I do know how to cut out shapes – I learned that in elementary school. I then traced the pattern with a special pen onto the fabric. Tracing is a skill I also learned in elementary school.


0traceThen I opened Excel, a program I do know how to use. I counted the number of squares covered by the outline and figured out approximately how the pattern would look. I guessed and did not worry about being precise. Close enough would be close enough. I then drew the pattern in Excel. I’ve never done this before. I don’t know how. But I figured it out because I do know how to draw on graph paper, and I had nothing more than digital graph paper on my screen. Once I had it filled in as an outline, I went back to Google and looked for an argyle pattern in cross stitch. I adapted what I found to my pattern. It’s ugly, definitely, but was all the guideline I needed to get started. Who cares if this is not the “right” way to make a pattern? It works.

0trace2I chose some colors by knowing I needed 4 colors total (based on the pictures of argyle I’d just seen) and wanting to keep at least 2 of them as blues for the underwater nature of the octopus. I used a red and a yellow as my contrasts. I chose colors I already owned, and decided that the color-variations thread would be interesting-looking. I chose the area I thought would be easiest and just began.

0step1Once done, I followed the directions to trim the excess fabric and adhere it to the back of the pendant. That was somewhat difficult as it involves a “running stitch” which is a sewing term and, although I’ve been cross stitching since I was 9, I do not know how to sew; it is a completely different skill set. But, what I do know is how to follow directions and there were photos in the instructions, so I gave it my best shot. I bet it is messier than someone who sews, but I got the job done, and it’s on the back where no one will ever see it. I also used some masking tape to hold things in place. I improvised. That is also something I know how to do – fudge it until it looks right, when necessary.

0step2Then, I realized I’d made an error! I forgot to wash the fabric and still had the blue outlines. I removed the backing and rinsed it off, holding the fabric ever so gently as not to undo my stitching. I put it immediately back on the pendant backing and pulled the thread tighter, then used my blow-drier to dry the fabric onto the backing. Here’s something I guessed: blow driers make my hair smooth, and will probably smooth any wrinkles in the fabric if it is on a smooth surface like the pendant backing.
0step3Not knowing what I was doing in assembling the pendant, I merely followed directions, something I have had a lot of practice at. And it is done! It is imperfect; I don’t care. If I were to do this project again, I’d choose colors with higher contrast, not two blues. I also considered outlining it so you can see each arm, but none of the silhouettes I viewed used back-stitching (outlining) so I skipped it.

Even if you think you can’t, you can. Break the task into small pieces that you DO know how to do. Even something challenging is not, if you think in small enough pieces and focus on what you do know.

Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. –Henry Ford.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

User Manual – Guest Blog by Julie Davis, LMFT

0julieA friend called me the other day raving about the new gadget that she had saved for, shopped for, invested in, and finally owned. Two weeks later I asked her about it:

“It’s too complicated. I can’t figure out how to make it work.”

“What about the User Manual?” I suggested.

“I don’t have the time. I’m just going to get rid of it.”

Unfortunately, I find this to be a similar way of thinking in many relationships:

“Why does he do that?”

“What were they thinking!?”

“Doesn’t she know…?”

“How could he…?”

We get confused, angry, disappointed, and eventually get rid of relationships because we can’t figure out how to make them work.

This week, I invite you to complete the following User Manual and forward it to people close to you. Exchange, listen, share and discuss to grow rather than get rid of your relationships. 


  •  To get my attention it’s best to….
  •  If I seem distant it’s probably because…
  •  When I get grumpy it’s helpful to…
  •  The best time/place to talk to me seriously is…
  •  The worst time/place to talk to me seriously is…
  •  If you need me to do something it’s useful to…
  •  When I feel insecure I tend to…
  •  I feel happy when …
  •  I feel sad when …
  •  I feel loved when …
  •  I feel scared when …
  •  I feel encouraged and supported when …
  •  I feel angry when …
  •  I feel the best when…
  •  When I malfunction, the best thing to do is:
  •  When I’m tired please…
  •  When I’m stressed please…
  •  When I get home from work please…
  •  Fun things I like to do:
  •  I need help with…
  •  Someday I would love to…
  •  Favorite authors:
  •  Favorite music:
  •  Favorite topics:
  •  Other:

Julie Davis, LMFT
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist 
Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist 704-807-1101, appointments available in California, New York, & North Carolina. Website, Subscribe to weekly article


Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Changing Habits: From I CAN’T to I DON’T

Diet. Dieting concept. Healthy Food. Beautiful Young Woman choosIf you are ready to make a change in your eating habits, workout routine, motivation, substance abuse, smoking habits, parenting habits, or any other thing, hypnotherapy can move your item into the Not Box.

I read an article on changing habits that discussed change as moving an item from “I can’t” to “I don’t.”

I don’t, in hypnosis terms, is the “not box.” It’s where things simply are not. It’s the place in subconscious mind where things you would never do, but have heard of, exist. I might ask if you would punch a baby or rob an old lady, and you would [hopefully] said “no, never.” That’s your Not Box.

I can’t, on the other hand, is everything you feel you should not do, but definitely would or might do. This is still in the realm of possibility, so it is still in Yes. “Yes, I would,” and “Yes, I might” exist in the same plane of the subconscious.

If you want to change a habit, the item needs to move from Yes to to the Not Box. It needs to get out of the realm of possibility and become something you simply don’t do.

For example: If you want to quit smoking, I could ask if you would ever smoke and – because it’s not nearly so horrendous as punching a baby – you might say “yes, I might, but I don’t want to.” My job, then, would be to move the act of smoking from the Yes plane to the Not Box. A person who never took up smoking, like me, would simply say, “No, I don’t smoke.” A person who quit smoking and plans to never return to smoking will respond, “No, I don’t smoke anymore.”

If you are a person who has quit drinking, if I offered you a cocktail, you’d say “No thanks, I don’t drink.” Exactly the same, is the response of a vegan when offered a steak, “No thanks, I don’t eat meat.”

Having something in the Not Box makes it so “I don’t” is a natural response without any emotional connection attached. If there is fear of use, it is still in the plane of Yes because it is still attached to “I might” or “I know I shouldn’t.” That is the mark of unfinished work. There is no interest in something you simply don’t do. If you offer me a cigarette, I simply say “no thanks” but am neither offended or tempted as it is something that merely holds no interest for me.

If you are ready to make a change, call today. 954-612-9553

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Overcome Test Anxiety

0pencilOf the most common fears, test-taking ranks one of the few that we are legitimately made to face. We can avoid heights, spiders, and death for a time, but in order to get through school, get into college, or finish an advanced degree, test-taking remains one of the fears we have to repeatedly face.

 As with any fear, the symptoms tend to be expressed in the anxiety cluster and may include:
  • Physical symptoms – sweating, increased heart rate, tingling or numbness in the arms or fingers or face, increased body temperature, feeling of dizziness or being light-headed.
  • Visual symptoms – hives or red blotches, pink/dark flush of the face or chest, increased blinking.
  • Internal symptoms – increased rate of thinking, feeling of panic, feeling of inability to move or react, pain or tightness in chest or stomach, digestive issues such as increased need to vomit or void bowels, digestive and gastric noises, headache.

0zebHow an individual experiences distress from test-taking varies, but each of these symptoms is an appropriate physiological response to stressors, if the stressor is life-threatening, which exams may feel like they are, though they are not. When zebra sees a lion, zebra responds physiologically as human may be responding in the event of test-anxiety. However, test is not a lion.

I utilize a form of clinical hypnotherapy called Rapid Resolution Therapy® which works directly with the subconscious to teach the mind that test is not lion and allow the appropriate response to continue to turn on in the event of an emergency, but to then turn off when the emergency has passed, and to cease to confuse events that may not be actual emergencies.

RRT is a short-term therapy that is done on an outpatient basis. It is fast, effective, and cost-efficient. Unlike talk-therapies, months and years do not need to elapse before change is felt. Most clients feel relief after just 2-3 sessions, and many people have finished clearing their issue after just 5-6 sessions. It is also useful for trauma, other anxieties, depression, grief, and addiction.

To make an appointment for a consultation appointment, please call Autumn at 954-612-9553 and specify you want to overcome test anxiety.

Pop quiz

The fear of taking tests is also known as:

a) testophobia

b) examphobia

c) nitophobia

d) sollicitudophobia

If you answered a), you’re correct. They were not thinking very far out of the box on that one, were they?

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Not Mine- Reframing Technique

0notWe cannot control others. You’ve heard this. The good news is: we don’t have to! We need only control our response to others, which is totally doable.

There are always going to be people cutting us off in traffic, people talking down to us, people undervaluing our work, and those who don’t believe in us. We need not give them any more of our attention than the bare minimum, but we need to categorize their words and actions as “theirs” and “not mine.”

Not Mine is a particular technique wherein you learn to control your response to the words and actions of others and take in none of it as your own.The problems (anger, fear, stress, resentment) begin when we internalize what belongs to another as if it need have any affect on us. But this is untrue; we need only feel our authentic response to any situation. You can do so from within a protective bubble of reframing knowing “that opinion is Not Mine and I need no response to that opinion.”

Make an appointment to learn this useful technique and reclaim your emotional boundaries. Call Autumn at 954-612-9553

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebookand Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Cure Insomnia

0insomCure your insomnia once and for good with self-hypnosis.

Attend a 2-hour training on self-hypnosis and learn a customized script to get to sleep quickly and effortlessly. I’ll teach you what to do, what not to do, and how to best work with your mind to accomplish deep, restful sleep with each application of the technique.

This technique is useful for adults and adolescents.

Please note: If your insomnia is the result of substance use, trauma, or chronic anxiety, it would be most beneficial to clear those issues so the symptom of insomnia is no longer present. I not only treat those disorders, but am also a specialist!

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

The Blah Days of Depression

Depression has a range of emotions within it, like the all-consuming “blah.”


Today is a blah day.

It isn’t that there is anything terribly wrong today.  There are issues looming, yes, but there are always issues of late.  There is nothing pressing, though.

It is just a blah day.

A day where I lay in bed, struggling to find a reason to get up.  I have had to pee for a couple hours now yet the dull ache in my bladder is not enough to pull me from under my covers.  I should probably get a drink, too, and brush my teeth, maybe get dressed and get a bite to eat.  I have been awake for over 5 hours now, since even before the sun rose, yet here I still lay.

I feel blah.  While the world around me continues with it’s hustle and bustle, I have no motivation, no desire to do anything.  Nothing seems interesting or important, nothing is pressing enough…

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Multitask Efficiently without Comparison

0autWhen I meet someone new, inevitably, they ask “What do you do for a living?” There’s always a moment of awkward silence where I figure out what to state first – usually whatever has the newest project happening or what I think will resonate with the listener. My friends always laugh in that pause because they know there’s a litany of answers coming. My husband says he has the same pause when people ask “What does your wife do? Is she in software, too?” My husband has a 9-5 job, just one, but is also co-owner of our board game business.

I answer, usually all in one breath, and they squint at me with one eyebrow raised skeptically and look at our mutual friend for confirmation, who always nods enthusiastically. Some people say “I’m tired just by hearing that.” And I think many people assume I must not do all those things well, but that’s untrue; I’m an overachiever and I do it all well, eventually. Read also: You Can for how to break things into tiny do-able steps.

Here’s the answer to “What do you do for a living, Autumn?”

“I have 6 jobs, presently, and a project. I own 1 company and co-own 2 others. In my one company, I’m a hypnotherapist specializing in trauma and short-term therapies, and I supervise interns. In the other two, my husband and I create board games; our first one should be up on Kickstarter in the next few months, but I can demo it for you, if you’re interested. I also write books and have 2 published on Amazon and 3 more in the works. I teach psychology at the college level. I work part time supervising visitation for parents. I’m also working on the business plan for the substance abuse center I want to open in the next two years.”

Are you tired just looking at that? I get tired just saying all that, but it’s 100% true. And that does not even account for the side projects that I’m always considering, investing in, and collaborating on, nor does it include my Mastermind Group that meets every other week or the practice group I organize that meets monthly.

People also ask “Do you sleep?” I sleep almost 8 hours every night. I eat. I exercise. I read a lot. I watch TV almost every day. I spend time with my friends at least once a week. I listen to audio books in the car. I go on vacations. I pay my bills on time. I also do my own nails every week. I love my full life.

My to-do list HAS to be organized. I use a system called Sticky Notes that’s pre-installed on my desktop computer (and Evernote when I’m making “don’t forget” notes in my cell phone) to keep track of all my projects. They’re each coded in a different color. As I do things, I delete them to leave the note empty. I start work most days around 8am, take a lunch break, and quit around 6pm, depending on that day’s projects, though sometimes I’m working until midnight, and some days I get a case of the “I Can’ts” and do absolutely nothing but watch TV all day; there’s a happy balance in there.

And, just to understand that the way I think and work is sane, once I week, I watch How to Do All the Things with Hank Green, my long-lost twin.

0camRecently, I was working on a list of interns to market supervision to and listening to videos including Ugly Behind-the-Scenes with Jeff Walker, marketing guru. He stated you should not compare your back end with anyone else’s front end. I also shot the video commercial for an upcoming webinar and figured I’d share with you my back-end. That’s my portable video camera on top of my printer and some paper with my script held up by the phone and a stapler. So do I have it all together? Yeah, no, sort of. I get a lot done. But it is not glamorous. As an entrepreneur, I’m plagued with massive excitement and crippling doubt, so I know I’m doing it right as all the Inc. articles seem to echo those feelings.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.